Sometimes the best solution is to just walk over there to capture that image.
From across the road, that distant moving fleck in left-center is a mystery. Put the lens to your eye and you realize it is an American Badger
You cross the road and step a few feet into the prairie and snap he picture. Now no one can deny you saw the badger.
You figure you can crop the heck of of this mage and show everyone the picture on Facebook.
When you halve the distance to the subject you effectively double the focal length on your lens. Walk a little closer. All of a sudden, you are starting to see some personality. No crop involved here and the badger is the same size in frame as in the shot above. We have gained megapixels as a result of cropping with our feet.
Up till now we had been shooting with a 1.6 crop-factor sensor on a 300MM lens with a 1.4 tele-converter. (that’s 13x in binocular lingo) In the shot above, we have cropped with our feet sufficiently to remove the converter. With the new lens arrangement we are now sharper, a stop faster and easier to hand-hold. We are also close enough to carefully compose the shot and create a work of art.
As close as we dare. Knowing the temperament and eyesight of the badger, the direction of the wind, the position of the sun. we can creep as closely as we dare. Now we have an animal shot we can be proud of.
And what about that ultra-cropping we did in third image of the series? We do it again with our foot-cropped image. Instead of a tiny badger in a big landscape, we now have a head portrait of the elusive creature.
Too many times we are content with the shot from the road. Putting a camera to your face crops out most of the world. Taking a step toward your subject crops out a little more. Crop with your feet until the world becomes your subject and your vision becomes the world.
Rikk Flohr © 2010